Friday, July 23, 2010

what my life is trying to say.

Below is my entry for this contest, put on by Donald Miller and his team up there in Portland. Find out more about the Living A Better Story conference here.


Earlier this year, I read Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I’d read Blue Like Jazz, but this was different. I felt challenged, stretched. I wanted to go around telling everyone what I’d read. My vocabulary changed. My focus shifted. I was talking in terms of story, determined to mold my life so that it would be a better read. The book really did change things for me, put things in perspective.

For a while after reading, I struggled with whether or not my story was really very good. At 24, I’m still a little confused as to who I want to be and what I want to do. Others I know have found their passions, their “callings.” They’re living in China, or making a difference in the lives of inner-city children. They’re committed to the work of their hands, to the creativity that makes their hearts sing. They’ve heard the call and answered. What do I do? I go to work, come home, make dinner, laugh with Jordan, go to bed, and do it all again, day after day after day.

How easy it is to fall into Satan’s trap that we’re just not good enough! He tells me that my conversion story isn’t powerful, that the life I’m living isn’t adventurous. And he is wrong.

Just as I discovered that my conversion was, in fact, an amazing picture of God's grace, I’m also learning that my story is one worth telling.

This year, A Million Miles inspired me to set goals in a different way. I chose to become more adventurous, to get off the couch and learn new things, to open my heart to new relationships.

I cooked a Passover meal.

I’ve held meaningful conversations with some of the people I love most.

We’ve taken more spontaneous, get-off-the-couch and skip-the-theatre dates.

I took a new job.

We’ve made difficult, challenging decisions.

I signed up for cake decorating.

I got some friends together to host a day for the teen girls at our church.

I started inviting more people over.

I got accepted into graduate school.

Thanks to Jordan’s passion for a population we don’t always see, our church began a homeless ministry (and, perhaps more important, the two of us became involved in a personal ministry).

I have a long way to go. My story isn’t perfect, and not every day has felt interesting or full of promise. I won’t be running marathons or publishing novels or opening businesses anytime soon (though ultimately...?). But these are baby steps, and they have taught me so much. And based on what I’ve learned these six months, I’ve decided I have discovered some major plotlines in my story.

I want people to know my home is a haven, a place they can come for refuge and comfort.

I want to jump when God says jump and stay when God says stay.

I want to show teenage girls their worth in God’s eyes.

I want to teach the world that marriage isn’t the end and teach the church that it’s not a beginning, but that instead it is intended to be a beautiful continuation of God’s plan.

I want to feed people, both with the food that I cook and the encouragement I give.

I want to partner with Jordan in showing all people — even those who have no place to call home — that there is an all-knowing merciful Creator who loves and cares for them in ways they may never know.

These are the elements to the story I’ve chosen to tell. To what end they’ll take me, I’m not sure. I can see myself in so many different places, doing so many different things. I want to travel. Open our own business (bookstore/coffee shop, anyone?). Write a Southern novel. Start a magazine for teen girls.

That’s the beauty, I guess. That my story has some blank pages I get to fill in God's own time.

Will attending a conference help me fill the pages faster? I'm not sure.

But reading a book got me started, so who am I to second guess that a seminar might move things along? I'd love see what practical steps I could take to begin weaving these plotlines into my life. I think the Living A Better Story conference could help with that.

The old me might never have even entered a contest like this. But now, I'm open. Eager. Excited. Willing to give it a shot.

What could it hurt?

It might make for a great next chapter.

1 comment:

Mom said...

You will need a sweater. I'll help you pack!! I love you and your story as it unfolds inspires me everyday!!!